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G U I D I N G P R I N C I P L E S F O R C O M P L E M E N TA RY

FEEDING OF THE BREASTFED CHILD

TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

Introduction

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Duration of exclusive breastfeeding and age of introduction of complementary foods

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Maintenance of breastfeeding

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Responsive feeding

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Safe preparation and storage of complementary foods

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Amount of complementary food needed

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Food consistency

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Meal frequency and energy density

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Nutrient content of complementary foods

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Use of vitamin-mineral supplements or fortified products for infant and mother

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Feeding during and after illness

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Use of these Guiding Principles

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This document was written by Kathryn Dewey. Chessa
Lutter was the responsible technical officer and provided
comments and technical oversight. Jose Martines and
Bernadette Daelmans provided extensive comments. An
earlier draft was reviewed and commented on by the participants at the WHO Global Consultation on
Complementary Feeding, December 10-13, 2001.

TA B L E S

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Table 1: Minimum number of meals required to attain the level of energy needed
from complementary foods with mean energy density of 0.6, 0.8, or 1.0 kcal/g
for children in developing countries with low or average levels of breast milk
energy intake (BME), by age and group.

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Table 2: Minimum dietary energy density (kcal/g) required to attain the level
of energy needed from complementary foods in 2-5 meals/d by children in
developing countries with low or average level of breast milk intake (BME)

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Table 3: Percentage of energy from complementary foods that should be
provided as fat to prepare diets with 30% or 45% of total energy as fat, for children
in developing countries, by age group and level of breast milk energy intake

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Table 4: Potential assessment needs and actions

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Guiding Principles for Complementary Feeding of the Breastfeed Child

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

INTRODUCTION
Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is fundamental to the development of
each childs full human potential. It is well recognized that the period from birth to two years of
age is a critical window for the promotion of optimal growth, health and behavioral development. Longitudinal studies have consistently shown that this is the peak age for growth faltering, deficiencies of certain micronutrients, and common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea.
After a child reaches 2 years of age, it is very difficult to reverse stunting that has occurred earlier (Martorell et al., 1994). The immediate consequences of poor nutrition during these formative years include significant morbidity and mortality and delayed mental and motor development. In the long-term, early nutritional deficits are linked to impairments in intellectual performance, work capacity, reproductive outcomes and overall health during adolescence and
adulthood. Thus, the cycle of malnutrition continues, as the malnourished girl child faces
greater odds of giving birth to a malnourished, low birth weight infant when she grows up. Poor
breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices, coupled with high rates of infectious diseases, are the principal proximate causes of malnutrition during the first two years of life. For
this reason, it is essential to ensure that caregivers are provided with appropriate guidance
regarding optimal feeding of infants and young children.

The target age range for complementary feeding is generally taken


to be 6 to 24 months of age, even
though breastfeeding may continue
beyond two years.

Complementary feeding is defined as the process starting when breast milk alone is no longer
sufficient to meet the nutritional requirements of infants, and therefore other foods and liquids
are needed, along with breast milk. The target age range for complementary feeding is generally taken to be 6 to 24 months of age, even though breastfeeding may continue beyond two
years. A review of feeding guidelines promoted by various national and international organizations has shown that there are inconsistencies in the specific recommendations for feeding
infants and young children (Dewey, in press). Some of the feeding guidelines are based more
on tradition and speculation than on scientific evidence, or are far more prescriptive than is necessary regarding issues such as the order of foods introduced and the amounts of specific foods
to be given. To avoid confusion, a set of unified, scientifically based guidelines is needed, which
can be adapted to local feeding practices and conditions.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

The guidelines described herein were developed from discussions at several technical consultations and documents on complementary feeding (WHO/UNICEF, 1998; WHO/UNICEF Technical
Consultation on Infant and Young Child Feeding, 2000; WHO Global Consultation on
Complementary Feeding, 2001; Academy for Educational Development, 1997; Dewey and
Brown, 2002). The target group for these guidelines is breastfed children during the first two
years of life. This document does not cover specific feeding recommendations for non-breastfed children, although many of the guidelines are also appropriate for such children (except for
the recommendations regarding meal frequency and nutrient content of complementary foods).
Appropriate diets for children who are not breastfed (such as those of HIV-positive mothers who
choose not to breastfeed), often referred to as replacement feeding, are the subject of other
documents (WHO/UNICEF HIV and Infant Feeding Counseling: A training Course, 2000). It
should also be noted that the guidelines herein apply to normal, term infants (this includes low
birth weight infants born at > 37 weeks gestation). Infants or children recovering from acute malnutrition or serious illnesses may need specialized feeding, which is covered by clinical manuals (for example, the WHO manual Management of the Child with a Serious Infection or Severe
Malnutrition, 2000). Preterm infants may also need special feeding. However, the guidelines
in this document can be used as the basis for developing recommendations on complementary
feeding for these subgroups.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

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D U R AT I O N O F E X C L U S I V E B R E A S T F E E D I N G A N D A G E
O F I N T R O D U C T I O N O F C O M P L E M E N TA R Y F O O D S

A. Guideline: Practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age, and introduce complementary foods at 6 months of age (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed.
B. Scientific rationale: In May, 2001 the 54th World Health Assembly urged Member States to
promote exclusive breastfeeding for six months as a global public health recommendation
(World Health Assembly, 2001). This recommendation followed a report by a WHO Expert
Consultation on the Optimal Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding (WHO, 2001), which considered the results of a systematic review of the evidence (Kramer and Kakuma, 2002) and concluded that exclusive breastfeeding for six months confers several benefits on the infant and the
mother. Chief among these is the protective effect against infant gastrointestinal infections,
which is observed not only in developing country settings but also in industrialized countries
(Kramer et al., 2001). There is some evidence that motor development is enhanced by exclusive
breastfeeding for six months (Dewey et al., 2001), but more research is needed to confirm this.
For the mother, exclusive breastfeeding for six months prolongs the duration of lactational
amenorrhea and accelerates weight loss (Dewey et al., 2001). A longer duration of amenorrhea
is generally considered an advantage, and for overweight women, weight loss is also beneficial.
Weight loss may be a disadvantage for underweight women, but could be avoided by ensuring
that such women have access to an adequate diet.
The Expert Consultation observed that, on a population basis, there is no adverse effect of exclusive breastfeeding for six months on infant growth. The nutrient needs of full-term, normal birth
weight infants typically can be met by human milk alone for the first 6 months if the mother is
well nourished (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). However, in certain circumstances, some of the micronutrients may become limiting before 6 months. In the case of iron, the infants reserves at birth
play a major role in determining the risk for anemia during infancy because the iron concentration of human milk is low. Normal birth weight infants whose mothers had good prenatal iron
status usually have adequate liver iron reserves, and thus the risk of iron deficiency before six
months is low. Low birth weight infants are at much greater risk for iron deficiency, and for that
reason it is advised that they receive medicinal iron drops beginning at 2 or 3 months of age
(UNICEF/UNU/WHO/MI Technical Workshop, 1999). Infants of mothers with prenatal iron deficiency may also be at risk, even if their birth weight is normal. For prevention of iron deficiency
among infants at risk prior to six months, complementary foods are not likely to be as effective
as medicinal iron drops (Dewey et al., 1998; Domellof et al., 2001).
Other nutrients that may become limiting before 6 months include zinc and certain vitamins.
The zinc concentration of human milk is relatively low, although its bioavailability is high. Low
liver reserves of zinc at birth may predispose some infants to zinc deficiency (Zlotkin et al.,
1988), similar to the situation for iron. To date there is little evidence that zinc deficiency limits growth of exclusively breastfed infants prior to 6 months of age (though it may do so after 6

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Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

months; Brown et al 2002), but recent findings of reduced infectious disease mortality among
term, small-for-gestational infants in India given zinc supplements from 1 to 9 months of age
(Sazawal et al., 2001) suggest that zinc nutriture in early infancy may be inadequate under certain conditions. As mentioned above for iron, however, medicinal zinc supplements may be
more effective than complementary foods at preventing zinc deficiency in young infants.
Vitamin deficiencies are generally rare in exclusively breastfed infants, but when the mothers
diets are deficient, their infants may have low intakes of certain vitamins (such as vitamin A,
riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12). In these situations, improving the mothers diet or giving her supplements is the recommended treatment, rather than providing complementary
foods to the infant. Vitamin D deficiency may occur among infants who do not receive much
exposure to sunlight, but giving vitamin D drops directly to the infant generally prevents this.
Given that growth is generally not improved by complementary feeding before six months even
under optimal conditions (i.e., nutritious, microbiologically safe foods) and that complementary foods introduced before six months tend to displace breast milk (Cohen et al., 1994; Dewey
et al., 1999), the Expert Consultation concluded that the potential health benefits of waiting
until six months to introduce other foods outweigh any potential risks. After six months of age,
however, it becomes increasingly difficult for breastfed infants to meet their nutrient needs from
human milk alone (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). Furthermore, most infants are developmentally ready
for other foods at about six months (Naylor and Morrow, 2001). In environments where environmental sanitation is very poor, waiting until even later than 6 months to introduce complementary foods might reduce exposure to food-borne pathogens. However, because infants are
beginning to actively explore their environment at this age, they will be exposed to microbial
contaminants through soil, etc. even if they are not given complementary foods. Thus, the consensus is that six months is the appropriate age at which to introduce complementary foods.

The Expert Consultation concluded that


the potential health benefits of waiting
until six months to introduce other
foods outweigh any potential risks.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

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MAINTENANCE OF BREASTFEEDING
A. Guideline: Continue frequent, on-demand breastfeeding until 2 years of age or beyond.
B. Scientific rationale: Breastfeeding continues to make an important nutritional contribution
well beyond the first year of life. Breastfed children at 12-23 months of age whose intake is similar to the average amount of breast milk consumed at that age (about 550 g/d in developing
countries; WHO/UNICEF, 1998) receive 35-40% of total energy needs from breast milk (Dewey
and Brown, 2002). Because it has a relatively high fat content compared to most complementary foods, breast milk is a key source of energy and essential fatty acids. Its fat content may be
critical for utilization of pro-vitamin A carotenoids in predominantly plant-based diets. Breast
milk provides substantial amounts of certain micronutrients. In the Gambia, it is estimated that
breast milk provides 70% of vitamin A, 40% of calcium and 37% of riboflavin intake at 15-18
months of age (Prentice and Paul, 1990). The nutritional impact of breastfeeding is most evident during periods of illness, when the childs appetite for other foods decreases but breast
milk intake is maintained (Brown et al., 1990). It thus plays a key role in preventing dehydration
and providing the nutrients required for recovery from infections.
Continued, frequent breastfeeding also protects child health by delaying maternal fertility postpartum (thereby increasing birth intervals in populations that do not regularly use other forms of
contraception) and reducing the childs risk of morbidity and mortality in disadvantaged populations (Molbak et al., 1994; WHO Collaborative Study Team on the Role of Breastfeeding on the
Prevention of Infant Mortality, 2000). Although the impact of breastfeeding past the first year of
life on infant appetite and growth has been controversial (Caulfield et al., 1996; Habicht, 2000),
recent longitudinal studies demonstrate that in developing countries, a longer duration of
breastfeeding is associated with greater linear growth when the data are analyzed appropriately to eliminate the influence of confounding variables and reverse causation (Onyango et al.,

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Breastfeeding continues to make an


important nutritional contribution well beyond
the first year of life.

A longer duration of breastfeeding has been linked to reduced risk of childhood chronic illnesses (Davis, 2001) and obesity (Butte, 2001), and to improved cognitive outcomes (Reynolds,
2001), although the causal relationships underlying these associations remain controversial.
Most of these studies have not specifically examined the effect of breastfeeding beyond 12
months on these outcomes.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

Photo courtesy of: La Leche League, Guatemala

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1999; Simondon et al, 2001).

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RESPONSIVE FEEDING
A. Guideline: Practice responsive feeding, applying the principles of psycho-social care (Engle et
al., 2000; Pelto et al., 2002). Specifically: a) feed infants directly and assist older children when
they feed themselves, being sensitive to their hunger and satiety cues; b) feed slowly and
patiently, and encourage children to eat, but do not force them; c) if children refuse many foods,
experiment with different food combinations, tastes, textures and methods of encouragement;
d) minimize distractions during meals if the child loses interest easily; e) remember that feeding
times are periods of learning and love - talk to children during feeding, with eye to eye contact.
B. Scientific rationale: There is increasing recognition that optimal complementary feeding
depends not only on what is fed, but also on how, when, where, and by whom the child is fed
(Pelto et al., 2002). Behavioral studies have revealed that a laissez-faire style of feeding predominates in some populations (Engle and Zeitlin, 1996; Bentley et al., 1991; Bentley et al,
1992), with encouragement to eat rarely observed, or observed only when children refused food
or were ill. It has been hypothesized that a more active style of feeding may improve dietary
intake. The evidence to date on the impact of feeding behaviors on dietary intake and child
health is sparse, however. In an urban population in Ghana, Ruel et al. (1999) found that a care
practices scale (which included breastfeeding patterns, timing of complementary feeding, food
quality, and two active feeding behaviors) was positively associated with child anthropometric status among mothers with little or no schooling. Several intervention studies that included
feeding behaviors as part of the recommended practices have reported positive effects on child
growth (Sternin et al., 1997; Creed de Kanashiro et al., 2002), but it is not possible to separate
the influence of responsive feeding from that of the other changes that occurred in breastfeeding practices and the types of complementary foods offered. When more data are available
from controlled research trials, it may be possible to pinpoint the types of feeding behaviors
that make the most difference to child health and behavioral development. In the meantime,
the recommendations above represent the current consensus on optimal practices among
experts in the field.

Optimal complementary feeding


depends not only on what is fed,
b u t a l s o o n h o w, w h e n , w h e r e ,
and by whom the child is fed.

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Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

S A F E P R E PA R AT I O N A N D S T O R A G E
O F C O M P L E M E N TA RY F O O D S
A. Guideline: Practice good hygiene and proper food handling by a) washing caregivers and childrens hands before food preparation and eating, b) storing foods safely and serving foods
immediately after preparation, c) using clean utensils to prepare and serve food, d) using clean
cups and bowls when feeding children, and e) avoiding the use of feeding bottles, which are difficult to keep clean (see WHO Complementary Feeding: Family foods for breastfed children, 2000
for additional details).

The peak incidence of diarrheal disease is


d u r i n g t h e s e c o n d h a l f y e a r o f i n f a n c y, a s t h e
intake of complementary foods increases.
Because they are difficult to keep clean,
feeding bottles are a particularly important
route of transmission of pathogens.

B. Scientific rationale: Attention to hygienic practices during food preparation and feeding is
critical for prevention of gastrointestinal illness. The peak incidence of diarrheal disease is during the second half year of infancy, as the intake of complementary foods increases (Martinez et
prevented by the practices described above. Because they are difficult to keep clean, feeding
bottles are a particularly important route of transmission of pathogens. In peri-urban Peru, 35%
of bottle nipples tested positive for E. coli, an indicator of fecal contamination, and 31% of teas
served in baby bottles were contaminated with E. coli compared with only 2% of teas served in
cups (Black et al., 1989).
Although there are significant barriers to compliance with the above recommendations in many
settings (including lack of safe water and facilities for safe preparation and storage of food, and
time constraints for the caregivers), carefully planned educational interventions can result in
substantial improvement (Monte et al., 1997). In addition, use of fermented foods can reduce
the risk of microbial contamination (Kimmons et al., 1999) and has the added advantage of
improving nutrient content (WHO, 1998).

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Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

Photo courtesy of UNICEF /HQ93-1732/ Roger Lemoyne: Complementary feeding of Chinese infant

al., 1992). Microbial contamination of foods is a major cause of childhood diarrhea, and can be

A M O U N T O F C O M P L E M E N TA RY F O O D N E E D E D
A. Guideline: Start at six months of age with small amounts of food and increase the quantity as
the child gets older, while maintaining frequent breastfeeding. The energy needs from complementary foods for infants with average breast milk intake in developing countries

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(WHO/UNICEF, 1998) are approximately 200 kcal per day at 6-8 months of age, 300 kcal per day
at 9-11 months of age, and 550 kcal per day at 12-23 months of age. In industrialized countries
these estimates differ somewhat (130, 310 and 580 kcal/d at 6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 months,
respectively) because of differences in average breast milk intake.
B. Scientific rationale: The total energy requirements of healthy, breastfed infants are approximately 615 kcal/d at 6-8 months, 686 kcal/d at 9-11 months, and 894 kcal/d at 12-23 months
of age (Dewey and Brown, 2002). Energy needs from complementary foods are estimated by subtracting average breast milk energy intake from total energy requirements at each age. Among
breastfed children in developing countries, average breast milk energy intake is 413, 379 and 346
kcal/d at 6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 months, respectively (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). The equivalent values for
industrialized countries (for breastfed children only) are 486, 375 and 313 kcal/d, respectively.
The above guideline is based on children receiving average amounts of breast milk at each age.
If an infant is consuming more or less breast milk than the average, the amount needed from
complementary foods will differ accordingly. In practice, caregivers will not know the precise
amount of breast milk consumed, nor will they be measuring the energy content of complementary foods to be offered. Thus, the amount of food to be offered should be based on the principles of responsive feeding (guideline #3), while assuring that energy density and meal frequency are adequate to meet the childs needs (see # 7, below). With the sample diets shown in the
document Complementary feeding: family foods for breastfed children (WHO, 2000), which have
a composite energy density ranging from 1.07 to 1.46 kcal/g, the approximate quantity of complementary foods that would meet the energy needs described above is 137-187 g/d at 6-8 months,
206-281 g/d at 9-11 months, and 378-515 g/d at 12-23 months. [It should be noted, however,
that these diets will not always satisfy micronutrient requirements. Recommended intakes of
iron, and to a lesser extent zinc, are unlikely to be provided by these diets.] It is important not
to be overly prescriptive about the amount of complementary foods to be consumed, recognizing that each childs needs will vary due to differences in breast milk intake and variability in
growth rate. Furthermore, children recovering from illness or living in environments where ener-

Photo courtesy of: PAHO

gy expenditure is high may require more energy than the average quantities listed here.

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FOOD CONSISTENCY
A. Guideline: Gradually increase food consistency and variety as the infant gets older, adapting
to the infants requirements and abilities. Infants can eat pureed, mashed and semi-solid foods
beginning at six months. By 8 months most infants can also eat finger foods (snacks that can
be eaten by children alone). By 12 months, most children can eat the same types of foods as
consumed by the rest of the family (keeping in mind the need for nutrient-dense foods, as
explained in #8 below). Avoid foods that may cause choking (i.e., items that have a shape
and/or consistency that may cause them to become lodged in the trachea, such as nuts, grapes,
raw carrots).

When foods of inappropriate consistency


are offered, the child may be unable to
consume more than a trivial amount, or
may take so long to eat that food intake
is compromised.

B. Scientific rationale: The neuromuscular development of infants dictates the minimum age at
which they can ingest particular types of foods (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). Semi-solid or pureed
foods are needed at first, until the ability for munching (up and down mandibular movements)
or chewing (use of teeth) appears. The ages listed above represent the usual capabilities of normal, healthy infants. When foods of inappropriate consistency are offered, the child may be

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unable to consume more than a trivial amount, or may take so long to eat that food intake is

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compromised. Evidence from several sources (Dewey and Brown, 2002) indicates that by 12
months, most infants are able to consume family foods of a solid consistency, although many
are still offered semi-solid foods (presumably because they can ingest them more efficiently,
and thus less time for feeding is required of the caregiver). There is suggestive evidence of a
critical window for introducing lumpy solid foods: if these are delayed beyond 10 months of
age, it may increase the risk of feeding difficulties later on (Northstone et al., 2001). Thus,
although it may save time to continue feeding semi-solid foods, for optimal child development
it is advisable to gradually increase food consistency with age.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

MEAL FREQUENCY AND ENERGY DENSITY


A. Guideline: Increase the number of times that the child is fed complementary foods as he/she
and the usual amounts consumed at each feeding. For the average healthy breastfed infant,
meals of complementary foods should be provided 2-3 times per day at 6-8 months of age and
3-4 times per day at 9-11 and 12-24 months of age, with additional nutritious snacks (such as
a piece of fruit or bread or chapatti with nut paste) offered 1-2 times per day, as desired. Snacks
are defined as foods eaten between meals-usually self-fed, convenient and easy to prepare. If
energy density or amount of food per meal is low, or the child is no longer breastfed, more frequent meals may be required.
B. Scientific rationale: The above guideline is based on theoretical estimates of the number of
feedings required, calculated from the energy needs from complementary foods (see #5 above),
and assuming a gastric capacity of 30 g/kg body weight/d and a minimum energy density of
complementary foods of 0.8 kcal/g (Dewey and Brown, 2002). To calculate the minimum meal
frequencies shown above (2 at 6-8 months and 3 thereafter), the energy needs from complementary foods were based on age-specific total daily energy requirements plus 2 SD (to meet the
needs of almost all children) minus the average intake of energy from breast milk by children in
developing countries. Infants with low intakes of breast milk would require the higher meal frequencies shown above (3 at 6-8 months and 4 thereafter) (Table 1).

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gets older. The appropriate number of feedings depends on the energy density of the local foods

When energy density of the usual complementary foods is less than 0.8 kcal/g, or infants typically consume amounts that are less than the assumed gastric capacity at each meal, meal frequency would need to be higher than the values shown above (see Table 1). Table 2 shows the
minimum energy density of complementary foods at various meal frequencies and levels of
breast milk intake.
A meal frequency that is greater than necessary may lead to excessive displacement of breast
milk. In Guatemala, a social marketing campaign to promote feeding complementary foods five
times per day had the unintended consequence of reducing breastfeeding frequency in children
19-24 months of age (from an average of 6.9 daytime feedings prior to the intervention, to 3.7
daytime feedings after the intervention, p=0.01; Rivera et al., 1998). In addition, preparing and
feeding five meals per day requires a considerable amount of time and effort by caregivers,
which may prompt them to hold prepared food over from one meal to the next, thereby potentially increasing the risk of microbial contamination. These considerations should be borne in
mind when developing messages regarding meal frequency. The use of 1 to 2 nutritious snacks
per day, such as a piece of fruit or a piece of bread or chapatti with nut paste, will not require
time for preparation and may also be less likely to displace breast milk.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

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NUTRIENT CONTENT OF
C O M P L E M E N TA RY F O O D S
A. Guideline: Feed a variety of foods to ensure that nutrient needs are met. Meat, poultry, fish
or eggs should be eaten daily, or as often as possible. Vegetarian diets cannot meet nutrient
needs at this age unless nutrient supplements or fortified products are used (see #9 below).
Vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily. Provide diets with adequate fat content (see Table 3). Avoid giving drinks with low nutrient value, such as tea, coffee and sugary
drinks such as soda. Limit the amount of juice offered so as to avoid displacing more nutrientrich foods.
B. Scientific rationale:
1) Micronutrient content. Because of the rapid rate of growth and development during the first
two years of life, nutrient needs per unit body weight of infants and young children are very
high. Breast milk can make a substantial contribution to the total nutrient intake of children between 6 and 24 months of age, particularly for protein and many of the vitamins.
However, breast milk is relatively low in several minerals such as iron and zinc, even after
accounting for bioavailability. At 9-11 months of age, for example, the proportion of the
Recommended Nutrient Intake that needs to be supplied by complementary foods is 97%
for iron, 86% for zinc, 81% for phosphorus, 76% for magnesium, 73% for sodium and 72%
for calcium (Dewey, 2001). Given the relatively small amounts of complementary foods
that are consumed at 6-24 months (see #5 above), the nutrient density (amount of each
nutrient per 100 kcal of food) of complementary foods needs to be very high.
Calculations of the desired nutrient densities at various ages (6-8, 9-11 and 12-23 months)
are published elsewhere (WHO/UNICEF, 1998; Dewey and Brown, 2002). When these were
compared with the actual nutrient densities of the typical complementary food diets consumed in various populations, several problem nutrients were identified. In most developing countries, complementary foods do not provide sufficient iron, zinc and vitamin B6.
Even in the U.S., iron and zinc were identified as problem nutrients in the first year of life,
despite the availability of iron-fortified products. Certain nutrients are in short supply in
some populations, but not in all, depending on the local mix of complementary foods.
These include riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Others,
such as vitamin E, iodine and selenium, may also be problem nutrients in certain settings,
but there is insufficient information to make this judgment.
Because there is so much variability in complementary food diets in different parts of the
world, it is not feasible to provide global dietary prescriptions that would guarantee adequate intake of all essential nutrients. It is preferable to develop population-specific
dietary guidelines for complementary foods based on the food composition of locally available foods. However, it is clear from analyses done previously (WHO/UNICEF, 1998; Gibson
et al., 1998; Dewey and Brown, 2002) that plant-based complementary foods by them-

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selves are insufficient to meet the needs for certain micronutrients. Therefore, it is advisable to include meat, poultry, fish or eggs in complementary food diets as often as possible.
Dairy products are a good source of some nutrients, such as calcium, but do not provide sufficient iron unless they are fortified. In environments with poor sanitation, promotion of liquid milk products is risky because they are easily contaminated, especially when fed by bottle. Fresh, unheated cows milk consumed prior to 12 months of age is also associated with
fecal blood loss and lower iron status (Ziegler et al., 1990; Griffin and Abrams, 2001). For
these reasons it may be more appropriate during the first year of life to choose dairy products
such as cheese, yogurt and dried milk (mixed with other foods, e.g. in a cooked porridge).
Potential allergic reactions related to consumption of certain high-protein foods during
infancy have been a concern in some industrialized countries (food allergies appear to be
less common in developing countries). For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends that infants with a family history of allergies or food sensitivities should not
receive cows milk until 1 year of age, eggs until 2 years, and peanuts, nuts and fish until 3
years of age (AAP, 1998). It is thought that avoidance of foods with documented allergenic
potential may delay or prevent some food allergy and atopic dermatitis in high-risk infants.
However, controlled studies demonstrating that restrictive diets after 6 months of age have
an allergy-preventing effect have not been published (Halken and Host, 2001), and for
this reason no such restrictions were advised by an international group of experts
(WHO/IAACI, 2000).
The advice to provide vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables daily is based on the clear health
benefits associated with preventing vitamin A deficiency (Allen and Gillespie, 2001), and
the likelihood that consumption of such foods will also help meet the needs for many of the
other vitamins. More precise guidelines regarding the recommended amount and frequency of consumption of such foods can be developed using local food composition data.
2) Fat content. Fat is important in the diets of infants and young children because it provides
essential fatty acids, facilitates absorption of fat soluble vitamins, and enhances dietary
energy density and sensory qualities. Breast milk is generally a more abundant source of
fat than most complementary foods. Thus, total fat intake usually decreases with age as the
contribution of breast milk to total dietary energy declines. Although there is debate about
the optimal amount of fat in the diets of infants and young children, the range of 30-45% of
total energy has been suggested (Dewey and Brown, 2002; Bier et al., 1999) as a reasonable compromise between the risks of too little intake (such as inadequate essential fatty
acids and low energy density) and excessive intake (thought to potentially increase the likelihood of childhood obesity and future cardiovascular disease, although the evidence on
this point is limited [Milner and Allison, 1999]). The percentage of energy from fat in complementary foods that would be needed to achieve a level of 30-45% of energy from fat in
the total diet depends on the level of breast milk intake and the fat content of the breast

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

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milk (Dewey and Brown, 2002). For infants in developing countries consuming an average
amount of breast milk with a normal fat concentration (38 g/L), for example, the needed
percentage of energy from fat in complementary foods is 0-34% at 6-8 months, 5-38% at
9-11 months, and 17-42% at 12-23 months (see Table 3).
When developing dietary guidelines to provide adequate fat in complementary foods, it is
important to take into account the potential effect of added fat (such as oil mixed with porridge) on the overall nutrient density of the diet. For example, the addition of one teaspoon
of vegetable oil to 100 g of a typical maize pap used in West Africa would increase the
energy density from 0.28 to 0.73 kcal/g, but would reduce protein density from 8.9% to
3.3% of energy, and iron density from 0.5 to 0.2 mg/100 kcal (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). These
effects could exacerbate micronutrient malnutrition in vulnerable populations unless other
measures (such as fortification) are taken to ensure adequate micronutrient intake.

Sugary drinks, such as soda, should


be avoided because they contribute
l i t t l e o t h e r t h a n e n e r g y, a n d t h e r e b y
decrease the childs appetite for
more nutritious foods.

3) Beverages with low nutrient value. Tea and coffee contain compounds that can interfere
with iron absorption (Allen and Ahluwalia, 1997), and thus are not recommended for
young children. Sugary drinks, such as soda, should be avoided because they contribute
little other than energy, and thereby decrease the childs appetite for more nutritious
foods. Excessive juice consumption can also decrease the childs appetite for other foods,
and may cause loose stools. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics (1998)
recommends no more than 240 ml of fruit juice per day. Studies in the U.S. have linked
excess fruit juice consumption to failure to thrive (Smith and Lifshitz, 1994) and to short
stature and obesity (Dennison et al., 1997), although such outcomes have not been consistently observed (Skinner et al., 1999).

24

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

U S E O F V I TA M I N - M I N E R A L S U P P L E M E N T S O R
F O R T I F I E D P R O D U C T S F O R I N FA N T A N D M O T H E R
A. Guideline: Use fortified complementary foods or vitamin-mineral supplements for the infant,
as needed. In some populations, breastfeeding mothers may also need vitamin-mineral supplements or fortified products, both for their own health and to ensure normal concentrations of
certain nutrients (particularly vitamins) in their breast milk. [Such products may also be beneficial for pre-pregnant and pregnant women].
B. Scientific rationale: Unfortified complementary foods that are predominantly plant-based
generally provide insufficient amounts of certain key nutrients (particularly iron, zinc and calcium) to meet the recommended nutrient intakes during the age range of 6-24 months
(WHO/UNICEF, 1998; Gibson et al., 1998; Dewey and Brown, 2002). Inclusion of animal-source
foods can meet the gap in some cases, but this increases the cost and thus may not be practical for the lowest income groups. Furthermore, the amounts of animal-source foods that can feasibly be consumed by infants (e.g., at 6-12 months) are generally insufficient to meet the gaps
in iron, calcium and sometimes zinc (WHO/UNICEF, 1998). Gibson et al. (1998) evaluated 23
different complementary food mixtures used in developing countries, some of which included
animal-source foods. None of them achieved the desired iron density and few achieved the
desired calcium or zinc density. The difficulty in meeting the needs for these nutrients during
infancy is not unique to developing countries. Average iron intakes of breastfed infants in industrialized countries would fall well short of the recommended intake if iron-fortified products were
not available (WHO/UNICEF, 1998), and the median zinc density of complementary foods consumed by breastfed infants in the U.S. was below the desired density at 6-12 months (Dewey

nine

and Brown, 2002).

In industrialized countries, iron-fortified complementary foods have been widely consumed for
decades, and some manufacturers have added zinc as a fortificant in recent years. Such products are not as widely available in developing countries (except through social programs that
reach only a small proportion of the population), although there is increasing attention to this
strategy for ensuring adequate infant nutrition (Lutter, 2000; Lutter in press). An alternative to

food fortification is the use of vitamin-mineral supplements that are provided directly to the
infant (e.g. as medicinal drops) or mixed with complementary foods (e.g. sprinkles, or fat-

based spreads; Dewey and Brown, 2002). Evaluation of the nutrient shortfalls for a particular
population (based on the types of complementary foods consumed) is necessary to decide
whether single or multiple-micronutrient fortification or supplementation is appropriate.

As described in #1, above, maternal malnutrition can affect the concentrations of certain nutrients in breast milk (particularly the vitamins). Improvement of the mothers diet is normally the

first choice, but when this is insufficient, consumption of fortified products or vitamin-mineral
supplements during lactation can help ensure adequate nutrient intake by the infant and
enhance the mothers nutritional status (Huffman et al., 1998).

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

25

FEEDING DURING AND AFTER ILLNESS


A. Guideline: Increase fluid intake during illness, including more frequent breastfeeding, and
encourage the child to eat soft, varied, appetizing, favorite foods. After illness, give food more
often than usual and encourage the child to eat more.

ten

B. Scientific rationale: During illness, the need for fluids is often higher than normal. Sick
children appear to prefer breast milk to other foods (Brown et al., 1990), so continued, frequent breastfeeding during illness is advisable. Even though appetite may be reduced, continued consumption of complementary foods is recommended to maintain nutrient intake and
enhance recovery (Brown, 2001). After illness, the child needs greater nutrient intake to make
up for nutrient losses during the illness and allow for catch-up growth. Extra food is needed
until the child has regained any weight lost and is growing well again.

Photo courtesy of UNICEF /HQ97-1377/ Giacomo Pirozzi: Nigerian mother feeding her child during illness

Continued, frequent breastfeeding


during illness is advisable.

26

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

USE OF THE GUIDING PRINCIPLES


The current scientific evidence for complementary feeding of the breastfed child is summarized
in these Guiding Principles. The length of the scientific rationale for each guideline varies considerably, because of differences in the knowledge base and complexity of the recommendation.
Research is needed on a number of topics to improve this knowledge base as well as to provide
information on how to translate this knowledge into effective policies and programs in different
settings. However, given the importance of infant and young child nutrition for adequate physical and cognitive development and the critical window of opportunity during the first two years
of life to ensure a healthy start to life, the available knowledge base was considered sufficiently robust to develop this set of guidelines.
The Guiding Principles are intended to guide policy and programmatic action at global, national, and community levels. Their implementation will require additional research in most settings
to identify culturally acceptable and affordable foods that can be promoted in meal preparation
and as snacks, identify factors that facilitate or are barriers to adopting improved feeding behaviors by caregivers and families, and translate each guideline into specific messages that are

The adoption
by mothers of
optimal breastfeeding and
by mothers/
caregivers of
optimal
complementary
feeding
practices is
needed to ensure
appropriate
infant and young
child growth and
development.

understood by health care providers, mothers, and other caregivers.


In applying each guideline, there are potential assessment needs and many potential actions
that can be undertaken, which may vary with the specific setting (for examples, see Table 4).
Whenever possible, these assessment needs and potential actions should be defined when
implementing the Guiding Principles. For example, for the first Guideline Duration of exclusive
breastfeeding and age of introduction of adequate complementary foods, assessment needs at
the national level could include the identification of barriers to exclusive breastfeeding, employment rates and maternity leave legislation, and current policies and programs to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding and the timely introduction of complementary foods. Potential
actions could include support and expansion of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, implementation and enforcement of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes,
adoption and enforcement of adequate maternity leave legislation, routine breastfeeding counseling at all prenatal and post-partum visits and during hospitalization for childbirth, etc. Many
of these assessment needs and potential actions would also be applicable to implementation
of these Guiding Principles at the local level.
The adoption by mothers of optimal breastfeeding and by mothers/caregivers of optimal complementary feeding practices is needed to ensure appropriate infant and young child growth and
development. Although maternal/caregiver decisions ultimately determine how an infant and
young child is fed, these decisions do not occur in isolation but rather reflect the immediate and
overall environment in which they are made and carried out. The Guiding Principles for
Complementary Feeding of the Breastfed Child are intended to provide to a wide range of individuals--policy makers, program planners, health care providers, and community leaders--scientifically-based information necessary to promote a conducive environment and to develop
culturally appropriate messages for optimal infant and young child feeding.

28

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

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Table 1. Minimum number of meals required to attain the level of energy needed from complementary
foods with mean energy density of 0.6, 0.8, or 1.0 kcal/g for children in developing countries with low or
average levels of breast milk energy intake (BME), by age group
Energy density

Age group

(kcal/g)

0.6
0.8
1.0

6-8 mo

9-11 mo

12-23 mo

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

3.7
2.8
2.2

2.4
1.8
1.4

4.1
3.1
2.5

2.8
2.1
1.7

5.0
3.7
3.0

3.7
2.8
2.2

- Estimated total energy allowance (see Dewey and Brown, 2002) is based on average requirement plus 25% (2
SD), to meet the needs of 97.5% of the population. Assumed functional gastric capacity (30 g/ kg reference BW)
is 249 g/meal at 6-8 mo, 285 g/meal at 9-11 mo, and 345 g/meal at 12-23 mo.
- Low BME: 217 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 157 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 90 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)
- Average BME: 413 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 379 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 346 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)

Table 2. Minimum dietary energy density (kcal/g) required to attain the level of energy needed from
complementary foods in 2-5 meals/d by children in developing countries with low or average level of
breast milk energy intake (BME)
Energy density

Age group

(kcal/g)

2
3
4
5

6-8 mo

9-11 mo

12-23 mo

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

LOW
BME

AVG
BME

1.11
0.74
0.56
0.44

0.71
0.48
0.36
0.26

1.23
0.82
0.61
0.49

0.84
0.56
0.42
0.34

1.49
0.99
0.74
0.60

1.12
0.75
0.56
0.45

- Estimated total energy allowance (see Dewey and Brown, 2002) is based on average requirement plus 25%
(2 SD), to meet the needs of 97.5% of the population. Assumed functional gastric capacity
(30 g/ kg reference BW) is 249 g/meal at 6-8 mo, 285 g/meal at 9-11 mo, and 345 g/meal at 12-23 mo.
- Low BME: 217 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 157 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 90 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)
- Average BME: 413 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 379 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 346 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)

Table 3. Percentage of energy from complementary foods that should be provided as fat to prepare diets
with 30% or 45% of total energy as fat, for children in developing countries, by age group and level of
breast milk energy intake
Percent of
total dietary
energy as fat
30

45
High

Level of breast milk


energy intake
Low
Med
High
Low
Med
0

Age group
6-8 mo

9-11 mo

12-23 mo

19
0
0
42
34
7

24
5
0
43
38
34

28
17
0
44
42

- Total energy requirement is based on estimates shown in Dewey and Brown, 2002. Assumes well nourished
mothers with milk fat concentrations of 38 g/L and breast milk energy density of 0.68 kcal/g.
- Low BME: 217 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 157 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 90 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)
- Average BME: 413 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 379 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 346 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)
- High BME: 609 kcal/d at 6-8 mo, 601 kcal/d at 9-11 mo, and 602 kcal/d at 12-23 mo (WHO/UNICEF, 1998)

33

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

33

Table 4. Potential assessment needs and actions


Guiding principle
1. Duration of exclusive
breastfeeding (EBF) and
age of introduction of
complementary foods

Assessment needs

Current policies and programs


to protect, promote and support
breastfeeding (BF) and timely introduction of complementary foods
Barriers to EBF
Employment rates of women in
the first year postpartum and
maternity leave legislation

Potential actions

2. Maintenance of BF

3. Responsive feeding

Barriers to sustained frequent BF


Wording of educational material
with respect to the term weaning

As above

Constraints on infant appetite or


food intake if total energy
intake is low, investigate whether
this is due to frequent illness,
micronutrient deficiency, inappropriate consistency of foods, unresponsive feeding by caregiver, or
household food insecurity
Feeding skills and behaviours of
the caregivers

Conduct trials for improved feeding


practices to identify current feeding
behaviours of caregivers and ways to
improve these behaviours
Provide training on IYCF counselling to
health care professionals
Implement social marketing campaigns to promote appropriate IYCF
practices
Ensure that educational materials provide guidance on appropriate IYCF
practices
Facilitate and expand activities of
community support for appropriate
IYCF practices
Counsel and educate caregivers regarding appropriate IYCF practices

4. Safe preparation
and storage of
complementary foods

Adequacy and safety of water


supply
Availability of fuel for cooking
and appropriate storage of perishables
Current hygienic practices, use of
feeding bottles or cups
Current use of fermented foods
for infants and young children

34

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

Implement and enforce the


International Code of Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes
Ensure that relevant standards for the
Codex Alimentarius include age of
introduction of complementary foods
Adopt and enforce regulation providing adequate maternity leave
Support and expand BFHI
Provide training on infant and young
child feeding (IYCF) counseling to
health care professionals
Implement social marketing campaigns to promote appropriate IYCF
practices
Ensure that educational materials provide guidance on appropriate IYCF
practices
Facilitate and expand activities of
community support for appropriate
IYCF practices
Develop and support worksite lactation programs

Implement programs to improve water


quality and sanitation
When fuel is limiting, develop alternative low-cost options
Promote use of fermented complementary foods
When refrigeration is limited, investigate feasibility and effectiveness of
strategies such as use of vacuum
flasks for storage of prepared foods
Implement social marketing campaigns to promote safe preparation
and storage of foods
Implement and enforce the
International Code of Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes

Guiding principle
5. Amount of complementary
foods needed

Assessment needs

Food security of the target population, including seasonal shortages


Typical amounts of complementary
foods provided and consumed

Potential actions

6. Food consistency

7. Meal frequency and


energy density

8. Nutrient content of CF

9. Use of vitamin-mineral
supplements or fortified
products for infants and
mother

10. Feeding during


and after illness

Conduct trials for improved feeding


practices to identify locally feasible,
acceptable and affordable recipes for
infants and young children
Develop age-specific feeding recommendations based on local recipes
Provide training on IYCF counselling to
health care professionals
Facilitate and expand activities of community support for appropriate IYCF
practices
Counsel and educate caregivers regarding appropriate IYCF practices
Ensure that educational materials contain accurate and consistent messages
regarding IYCF
Implement social marketing campaigns
to promote appropriate IYCF practices
Implement and enforce the
International Code of Marketing of
Breastmilk Substitutes

Types of foods usually fed, method


of preparation, and consistency
Beliefs regarding appropriate
foods for infants
As above
Promote home or community based
food technologies to improve
consistency of staple foods

Feeding frequency and energy


density of local foods.
Local barriers to feeding children
according to the guidelines, including constraints on working women

As above

Capacity of locally available foods


to meet nutrient needs
Current practices and barriers
regarding use of animal-source
foods, vitamin A-rich fruits and
vegetables
Local fat sources and under- or
over-use of fat
Use of tea, coffee, sugary drinks
and juices

As above
Develop and adopt feasible dietary
guidelines to improve nutrient content
of complementary foods, through promotion of home-based food technologies, fortification or, if needed, supplementation
Ensure that relevant standards of the
Codex Alimentarius are applied in the
production and marketing of commercially prepared complementary foods

Gaps in meeting nutrient needs of


infants using local foods
Prevalence of maternal and child
micronutrient deficiencies
Current use of fortified foods and
nutrient supplements, for infants
and for lactating women
Demand for convenient processed
foods and potential to pay for them

Traditional food practices during


illness, such as withholding of
food, use of specific foods or fluids
Knowledge of caregivers regarding
food and fluid needs during illness, and the concept of catch-up
growth

As above
Promote home or community based
food technologies to improve consistency of staple foods

Determine lowest-cost, most feasible


strategy for filling nutrient gaps,
through fortified foods, nutrient supplements, or a combination
Work with local companies to produce
fortified foods and/or supplements and
develop a marketing strategy
Consider subsidizing such products for
low-income families
Conduct trials for improved feeding
practices to identify current feeding
behaviours and feasible, acceptable
ways to improve child feeding during
and after illness
Counsel caregivers regarding appropriate
IYCF practices during and after illness

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

35

G U I D I N G P R I N C I P L E S F O R C O M P L E M E N TA RY
FEEDING OF THE BREASTFEED CHILD
1.

DURATION OF EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING AND AGE OF INTRODUCTION OF COMPLEMENTARY FOODS. Practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age, and introduce
complementary foods at 6 months of age (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed.

2.

MAINTENANCE OF BREASTFEEDING. Continue frequent, on-demand breastfeeding until 2


years of age or beyond.

3.

RESPONSIVE FEEDING. Practice responsive feeding, applying the principles of psychosocial care. Specifically: a) feed infants directly and assist older children when they feed
themselves, being sensitive to their hunger and satiety cues; b) feed slowly and patiently,
and encourage children to eat, but do not force them; c) if children refuse many foods,
experiment with different food combinations, tastes, textures and methods of encouragement; e) minimize distractions during meals if the child loses interest easily; f) remember
that feeding times are periods of learning and love - talk to children during feeding, with eye
to eye contact.

4.

SAFE PREPARATION AND STORAGE OF COMPLEMENTARY FOODS. Practice good hygiene


and proper food handling by a) washing caregivers and childrens hands before food preparation and eating, b) storing foods safely and serving foods immediately after preparation,
c) using clean utensils to prepare and serve food, d) using clean cups and bowls when feeding children, and e) avoiding the use of feeding bottles, which are difficult to keep clean.

5.

AMOUNT OF COMPLEMENTARY FOOD NEEDED. Start at 6 months of age with small amounts
of food and increase the quantity as the child gets older, while maintaining frequent breastfeeding. The energy needs from complementary foods for infants with "average" breast
milk intake in developing countries are approximately 200 kcal per day at 6-8 months of
age, 300 kcal per day at 9-11 months of age, and 550 kcal per day at 12-23 months of age.
In industrialized countries these estimates differ somewhat (130, 310 and 580 kcal/d at 68, 9-11 and 12-23 months, respectively) because of differences in average breast milk intake.

36

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

6.

FOOD CONSISTENCY. Gradually increase food consistency and variety as the infant gets
older, adapting to the infants requirements and abilities. Infants can eat pureed,
mashed and semi-solid foods beginning at six months. By 8 months most infants can
also eat "finger foods" (snacks that can be eaten by children alone). By 12 months, most
children can eat the same types of foods as consumed by the rest of the family (keeping
in mind the need for nutrient-dense foods, as explained in #8 below). Avoid foods that
may cause choking (i.e., items that have a shape and/or consistency that may cause them
to become lodged in the trachea, such as nuts, grapes, raw carrots).

7.

MEAL FREQUENCY AND ENERGY DENSITY. Increase the number of times that the child is
fed complementary foods as he/she gets older. The appropriate number of feedings
depends on the energy density of the local foods and the usual amounts consumed at
each feeding. For the average healthy breastfed infant, meals of complementary foods
should be provided 2-3 times per day at 6-8 months of age and 3-4 times per day at 9-11
and 12-24 months of age, with additional nutritious snacks (such as a piece of fruit or
bread or chapatti with nut paste) offered 1-2 times per day, as desired. Snacks are
defined as foods eaten between meals-usually self-fed, convenient and easy to prepare.
If energy density or amount of food per meal is low, or the child is no longer breastfed,
more frequent meals may be required.

8.

NUTRIENT CONTENT OF COMPLEMENTARY FOODS. Feed a variety of foods to ensure that


nutrient needs are met. Meat, poultry, fish or eggs should be eaten daily, or as often as
possible. Vegetarian diets cannot meet nutrient needs at this age unless nutrient supplements or fortified products are used (see #9 below). Vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily. Provide diets with adequate fat content. Avoid giving drinks
with low nutrient value, such as tea, coffee and sugary drinks such as soda. Limit the
amount of juice offered so as to avoid displacing more nutrient-rich foods.

9.

USE OF VITAMIN-MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS OR FORTIFIED PRODUCTS FOR INFANT AND


MOTHER. Use fortified complementary foods or vitamin-mineral supplements for the
infant, as needed. In some populations, breastfeeding mothers may also need vitaminmineral supplements or fortified products, both for their own health and to ensure normal concentrations of certain nutrients (particularly vitamins) in their breast milk. [Such
products may also be beneficial for pre-pregnant and pregnant women].

10. FEEDING DURING AND AFTER ILLNESS. Increase fluid intake during illness, including more
frequent breastfeeding, and encourage the child to eat soft, varied, appetizing, favorite
foods. After illness, give food more often than usual and encourage the child to eat more.

Fo o d a n d N u t r i t i o n

37

GUIDING
PRINCIPLES FOR
C O M P L E M E N TA RY
FEEDING OF
THE BREASTFED
CHILD

PA N A M E R I C A N H E A LT H O R G A N I Z AT I O N
W O R L D H E A LT H O R G A N I Z AT I O N
Celebrating 100 Years of Health

Division of Health Promotion and Protection


Food and Nutrition Program
525 Twenty-third St. N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20037
http://www.paho.com